Help for lawyers on #BellLetsTalk Day
Today is Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, which has brought publicity to the issue of mental health in Canada. Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives for every Tweet using #BellLetsTalk, as well as for certain texts and calls (full details at letstalk.bell.ca).
LAWPRO understands the importance of mental health and wellness in the practice of law. There is a direct connection between claims and lawyer’s suffering from stress, poor health and addiction.
For instance, we have seen clusters of Rule 48-related administrative dismissal claims resulting from lawyer breakdowns (see “How unhealthy lawyers affect client service”).
This is one of the reasons LAWPRO supports the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Member Assistance Program (MAP), provided by Homewood Human Solutions. The MAP provides a wide range of services and resources for overwhelmed lawyers, judges, paralegals, law students, and other legal professionals, as well as their families.
MAP member services include the following: Visit myassistplan.com for the full list of services and resources.
Health Risk Assessment
Login to take this survey about your lifestyle and general health. It takes about 10 minutes and you get a report on actions you can take to improve your health. The survey asks questions about your eating and drinking habits, your weight, how much exercise you get, your blood pressure, how well you can relax, and other aspects of mental and physical health. The resulting downloadable report gives detailed explanations of your “scores” and advice on how to make improvements in areas of concern.
Counselling: in person, telephone and e-counselling
When you contact MAP, you have the opportunity to speak with an experienced counsellor, including one who is a former lawyer. You can also be connected to a peer volunteer who is a member of the profession. Your conversations are completely confidential, and there is no waiting list. You can speak to a counsellor immediately in a number of ways: arrange an in-person visit, speak on the phone,
or take advantage of secure and private e-counselling.
e-counselling can be done in two ways:
- Private Conversations are similar to email, so you can compose and edit your messages (or save as drafts to revisit later) and receive replies within 2 business days, or
- Chat is a secure and confidential instant messaging “chat room” format.
MAP resource library for legal professionals
The library offers an extensive selection of articles on childcare issues, caring for aging parents, financial health, relationships, and other life challenges that can add to the stresses of a legal career. An additional series of wellness articles are aimed at those who manage others to help guide them through such issues as job loss, illness or losing a loved one.
Below is a selection of articles and studies featured on the main MAP site:
- Stressbusters: Sanity Savers and Practical Tips
- Lawyer Distress
- Strategies for the At Risk Lawyer
- Why Lawyers are Unhappy
- Guidelines for Legal Practitioners with Suicidal Colleagues
- Depression and Anxiety in Law Students
Homewood offers a number of e-learning courses that lawyers can do from their desks. They are designed to improve personal health and well-being and/or workplace effectiveness, and deal with such topics as stress, workplace change, improving resilience, and preparing for retirement. Each course contains an interactive audio/video component, written exercises, and links to additional information on that topic.
Completing a Homewood e-learning course qualifies for one $50 LAWPRO Risk Management credit per policy year.